The Wonder of Trees

One of my greatest passions is hiking among trees. I love the way they look, feel, smell, and sway in the wind. Standing under their massive beauty in a rain storm is also quite enjoyable. Their leaves and needles glisten with rain drops. The series I am focusing on now is the bark of trees. I am using macro and micro details to show images I find in their trunks. Oh the stories these creatures could tell if only they could talk to us. They have an amazing way of communicating with each other and the forest around them. I wish we could hear their language. In this series, I am trying to portray faces and creatures that I see in the lines or details of these giant wonders.

Each painting will be sketched out in my book beforehand to finalize the image I wish to show. I love how viewers see different impressions in my art than I intended. I love hearing and reading comments on these pieces because you all inspire me by showing me different perspectives of my own intentions. This has always fascinated me about painting, drawing, poetry, music, etc. The arts have a way of opening our mind and creativity to such amazing beauty. So please, send me messages, emails, or texts of what you see in the wood pieces that I will be creating throughout the journey of this series.

In this fallen tree from Mt. Charleston I see a pointed nose of maybe a witch or wizard. I wondered what this person was thinking and feeling. The colors of orange and dark brown/blue reminded me of Halloween and my mind drifted to watching the person doing spells. The painting also reminds me of wood nymphs, or dryads. I love how intrigued I get by being out in nature. I hope all of you have a place you can go that brings you immense joy and creativity. Even turning the home into a creative space is quite enjoyable. Let me know what you see in this painting if you get a moment in your day, or any of my paintings. I would love to know what you see! Thank you for reading.

-Karen Hilliard

Hiking Mt. Charleston

The air is crisp and low. Snow has settled on the ground yet is starting to burn off as the winter season is coming to a close. People and dogs are hiking and enjoying themselves on this glorious Nevada mountain. The terrain is rocky and steep in sections, the tops of trees sway in the wind, and my family is having a great time outdoors. I wander around taking photographs, the dog plays in the snow, and my husband is among the trees feeling delighted with every moment. These are my two favorite beings to be with and they both make everything even more beautiful.

One of the things we always stop and do is smell the trees. Ponderosa Pines let off a scent of butterscotch. We recommend this to everyone we meet on hikes, “smell these trees! They smell like butterscotch!” One of my good friends told me this same thing many years ago on the North Loop Trail up to Raintree. I told my husband when we met and went on this hike for our first date. Now, it has become our constant. Hence, we love sharing this knowledge with others. When you are out, near a Ponderosa Pine, please, stop and smell the tree! You will not be disappointed. Along the hike, as we smell the Ponderosas, I am also studying all the trees and finding images in their bark.

The base of the tree has many faces in the lines. I see creatures in the textures and my mind begins to wander. I take photographs or sketch what I see when out in nature. Then, I come home and either paint the same day or wait many years to start a painting. Mt. Charleston Series 1 of my original Tiny Paintings were painted a long time after I took the photographs in 2015. The paintings did not come to pass until 2020, five years later. The pictures in this blog are from two different events in my and Chris’s timeline. The painting was from a photograph taken when we first met and the pictures with our dog are from 2018. In the painting I saw the head of a crow. What do you see?

-Karen Hilliard